Author: Tania Escobar
It has been 20 years since the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. What was once, as J.K. Rowling tweeted, a world she enjoyed alone now has welcomed millions of fans of all ages, genders, and races for a decade. Looking to honor this auspicious occasion, I discovered via a Facebook Event Page Harry Potter Nerds Knight at Dave & Buster’s in Arcadia, hosted by NerdBot Media, which took place on Thursday, June 22, 2017.
All the witches, wizards, and nerd muggles partied at this nightlife-style event, which featured a private lounge and bar, karaoke, cosplay, a live band, a DJ, and a private movie showing. Tickets were only $10 and could be purchased at Eventbrite via a link from the Facebook Event Page. Along with the admission price, private event attendees got a wristband and unlimited game cards for free gameplay to D&B non-ticket winning games. Like most Nerd Knights, It was a 21 over (as they have drink specials and a happy hour); anyone younger than 21 had to be accompanied by someone 25 or older.
I was eager to attend this specific Nerd Knight, not just because of the unlimited gameplay, but because it was themed after my fandom, Harry Potter. I’m such a Potterhead that I even work at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The homage to Potter was present from the very beginning. During check-in, a wand maker (look out, Ollivander) sold handcrafted wands for ten dollars a piece. At the night’s end, the event would raffle off one of the wands to a lucky winner. Though they do not perform interactive spells like the I ones I sell at Universal, the creative simplicity was worth the price.
It was easy to tell that this was not the first Nerds Knight due to the well-organized nature of check-in, and the planned schedule of the evening’s activities. The event lasted from 7:00 pm to 12:30 am, perfect for all the night owls. Festivities move along smoothly, starting with the live band in the D&B showroom. The rock band, dubbed The Expansion Pack, dressed for the theme by sporting their Hogwarts House uniforms.
As the band finished, the Private Sky Lounge opened up for guests, with a dance space and a DJ. Those spending their time upstairs got to make some magic around with the free photo-op area, which featured a giant Nerdbot logo backdrop. This really gave the VIP experience. This area was also where the Nerd-karaoke, which lasted the rest of the evening, took place.
Back in the showroom, for those wanting to reconnect with the source of the night, there was a showing of Severus Snape and The Marauders, a Harry Potter fan film. Written and directed by Justin Zagri and starring Mick Ignis (Severus Snape), Paul Stanko (Remus Lupin), and Zachary David (Peter Pettigrew). Any Potterhead could tell from the title that it is a prequel to the franchise. With incredible special effects, this is a nerd-worthy flick; but that’s a review left for another day. The 25-minute run time left a full house in the D&B showroom, bringing about gawking mouths of amazement and roaring applause.
After the feature, surprise guests Zagri, Stanko, and David were present for a Q&A. They then ran the Harry Potter Trivia and prize giveaway, which included a grand prize of the film on DVD. I was pleasantly surprised at the complexity of the trivia questions, which catered only to the true HP bookworm, including “What did Professor Quirrell teach before Defense Against the Dark Art?”
The event didn’t require Harry Potter cosplay, and though most attendees didn’t arrive in magical attire, some faithful fans were sporting Hogwarts House colors with pride. Always leaning to the edgier side, I wore goth attire and my Ministry of Magic pin, embodying a Ministry Aurora, ready to take on The Dark Arts.
Ultimately, I’m not much of a bar scene person, but the picture and unlimited game card made the experience worth it. Nerds Knight might be your event if you’re a fan of arcade games, nightlife, and cosplay. Nerdbot Media throws several of these Nerd Knight events at this Dave & Buster’s throughout the year. I learned the previous Nerd Knight was Star Wars-themed. The next large event Nerdbot Media will host is Nerdbot-Con 2017, a nerd and cosplay convention held at the Pasadena Convention Center on September 30, 2017.